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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 27, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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constitutional people. >> yes. >> right, the people who ordain and establish the constitution. so we have -- we've managed to extend the reach of that and so we need to reach it to both -- >> civil rights activist bob moses. i think we lost the shot there. gosh, it's an honor to have him. that's "all in" for this evening. rachel maddow hubris, "selling the iraq war" begins now. good evening, thanks for joining us this hour. this is how wars end. december 15th, 2011. members of the u.s. military performing ceremony known as the casing of the colors. it's a ceremony that involves lowering the u.s. armed forces flag. carefully furling it and then encasing it to signify the end of a mission. that ceremony on that december day in 2011, that moment marked the official end of america's near decade-long-war in iraq. and now 2 1/2 years after ending
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that war, we find ourselves engaged in a national debate about potentially going back. sunni militants on the march in iraq, overtaking the same cities the u.s. military fought to hold years earlier when u.s. troops left the iraqi government it turns out could not continue to hold them. several hundred u.s. service members have been ordered back to iraq, bolstering u.s. embassy security, embedding with iraqi troops. we're at a moment in our history that calls for a good and vigorous national debate about how our country should respond to what's happening now in iraq. what we've had instead is deja vu. same architects who led us into that war a decade ago sharing their self-proclaimed expertise about what we should do in iraq now. and while it is maddening to see those same voices being treated as experts on the very subject they were so famously wrong about, it's more important than that even to remember that they weren't just wrong. the iraq war gets short handed now as an intelligence failure.
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u.s. policymakers were just acting on bad information. that is not what the iraq war was. it was a deception. and this is important. it was the deliberate manipulation of intelligence in order to deceive, and it worked. and a decade later we owe it to ourselves to not only learn from our mistakes as a nation so we do not repeat them, we owe it to ourselves as a nation to hold to account and treat aaccordi acca the voice that snookered us into the war in the first place since they're trying to drag us back in. investigative reporter michael isikoff and "mother jones'" david corn authored a book named "hubris." how intelligence was purposely distorted to make the case for war. the case for war wasn't wrong. it was a lie. what you're about to see tonight is based on their reporting. all of a sudden it's back in the middle of the current fight in our nation now over what we should do next.
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>> the people of the united states and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. >> my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. >> there's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be u.s. taxpayer money, and it starts with, yes, it's the iraqi people. >> you go to war with the army you have. not the army you might want. or wish to have.
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>> the search is under way for those who were behind these evil acts. i've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. we will make no distinction between the terrorist who committed these acts and those who harbored them. >> what weighed on many of us is the 9/11 attack revealed major vulnerabilities. iraq had been a big problem even before 9/11 and became even bigger and more urgent in light of 9/11.
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>> america's greatest national security failure since pearl harbor hurls its leaders into a massive national security response. >> and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. >> osama bin laden and his al qaeda terrorist network are the immediate target, but the day after the attacks, president george w. bush comes to the white house situation room and orders counterterrorism director richard clark to look into an iraq connection. >> when i said, mr. president, we will do that, of course, but we've done it before and rather recently, and the answer has always been no. it's likely to be no this time. he didn't like that answer. and he got mad. >> i was in the room during that time and he was very adamant about perhaps seeing whether or not iraq could conduct such an operation against the united states. i was surprised. when the president left the room, i said i believe secretary
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wolfowitz got to him. >> paul wolfowitz, bush's deputy secretary of defense had has saddam on his personal enemies list for two decades. >> every time he survives something, he sends the message to his enemies, i outlast my enemies and if you on the wrong list when i'm still around, you'll be in trouble. >> paul wolfowitz would become convinced that if we looked strongly enough, if we looked closely enough, we'd find the hand of saddam hussein behind virtually every terrorist attack on the united states. >> empb before 9/11 wolfowitz and undersecretary of defense douglas fife had been driving policy on iraq. >> some of us believe you'll have a saddam hussein problem forever unless you get rid of him. >> meeting notes from the afternoon of 9/11 showed donald
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rumsfeld tasking a top aide to find the best info fast. good enough to hit saddam hussein. he asks the aide to get evidence from wolfowitz of a saddam connection with ubl. osama bin laden. >> we all looked at each other, like, what are they talking about? who the hell, saddam hussein? bin laden hates him. he's a heretic. there's no connection between saddam hussein and al qaeda. >> the word goes out to the cia, fbi and all the intelligence services. find the connection. first, though, the war on terror goes to afghanistan. to capture or kill osama bin laden and destroy the taliban regime that supports al qaeda. by november, the enemy is on the run. forced to flee into the mountains and across the border
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to pakistan. but while bin laden remains at large, washington's attention turns to iraq. to saddam. >> i think the united states since desert storm has always had a various planning with respect to iraq. >> operation desert storm. also known as the first gulf war. in 1991, following iraq's invasion of kuwait, a u.s.-led coalition of 34 countries drives saddam's forces out of kuwait and decimates the iraqi army in six weeks. but despite that overwhelming victory, president george h.w. bush faces criticism as home for not going all the way to baghdad to rid the world of saddam hussein. >> i made very, very clear from day one that it was not an objective of the coalition to get saddam hussein out of there
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by force. >> dick cheney, his defense secretary at the time, supports the first president bush's restraint. >> i think we got it right. conversations i had with leaders in the region afterwards. they were concerned that we not get into a position where we were an imperialist power willy-nilly moving in to capitals and that part of the world taking down governments. >> after the gulf war, bush and his successor, bill clinton, send u.s. planes to provide air cover for vulnerable populations in northern and southern iraq. the u.n. security council imposes harsh sanctions and sends in weapons inspectors to dig deeply for iraqi wmd capabilities. weapons of mass destruction. >> this went on for years. at a certain point, unbeknownst to the weapons inspectors or anyone else other than iraq, it turns out that we pretty much accounted for the full system,
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but we didn't know that. >> in 1998, saddam refuses to cooperate further and the united nations pulls out the weapons inspectors. saddam virtually seals iraq off from the west. in a 1998 letter to president clinton, paul wolfowitz, donald rumsfeld, and other leading neoconserve tis urge the president to take action to remove saddam's regime from power. the neocons align with an arbane iraqi ex-patriot who heads the iraqi national congress. a group of iraqi defectors lobbying to get rid of saddam. >> i say to you now that opposition is united in its aim of getting rid of saddam and establishing democracy in iraq. >> he was a very impressive and effective spokesman for the
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iraqi opposition to saddam. >> a very slick operator who was skillful enough to convey the idea that he could step in as new leader of iraq. that was totally divorced from realities on the ground. >> i george walker bush do solemnly swear -- >> when george w. bush is sworn in january, 2001, rumsfeld, wolfowitz and feif take the reins of policy. vice president cheney has reversed course and now supports regime change in iraq. motive awaits opportunity. and for the bush administration, 9 /11 provides it. ups is a global company, but most of our employees live in the same communities that we serve. people here know that our operations have an impact locally. we're using more natural gas vehicles than ever before. the trucks are reliable, that's good for business. but they also reduce emissions, and that's good for everyone. it makes me feel very good about the future of our company.
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iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward america and to support terror. this is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.
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states like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world. >> when i heard the axis of evil speech, i thought, well, something's going to happen. >> the idea was, take actions after 9/11 that would so shock state supporters of terrorism around the world that we might be able to get them to change their policies regarding support for terrorism and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. >> general franks is both a warrior but also a wise and inspiring commander. >> a declassified memo from november 2001 reveals that donald rumsfeld met as early as then with centcom commander general tommy franks to review plans for the decapitation of the iraqi government. they discuss ideas of how to start a war. one suggestion is to create a dispute over wmd inspections.
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>> this is a regime that agreed to international inspections, then kicked out the inspectors. >> 9/11 made it politically possible for the first time to persuade the american people to break a tradition of not launching offensive wars. >> the pressure to find evidence falls heavily on all 15 u.s. intelligence agencies. >> the extremely strong policy wind that was blowing at the time, and that everyone in government corridors felt, made it absolutely clear what was preferred and what was not preferred. >> atta, mohammed atta, leader of al qaeda's 9/11 hijackings. from prague comes an intelligence report of a photograph allegedly showing mohammed atta meeting with a high-ranking iraqi intelligence officer. the photograph of the supposed
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meeting is never made publicly available. >> mohammed atta was a slight guy, barely what, 5'5", 5'6", and skinny. the guy in the photograph was muscular, thick and had a neck the size of two of my necks. that's not mohammed atta in the photograph. but send it to the lab anyway. in my mind, the matter is put to bed. >> in the final analysis -- >> even without definitive evidence, the vice president goes public with it. >> it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to prague and he did meet with senior official of the iraqi intelligence service in czechoslovakia last april. >> i was sitting in my den in my home, washington, d.c., and i remember looking at the tv screen saying, what did i just hear? and i -- first time in my life, i actually threw something at the television. because i couldn't believe what i had just heard. >> over and over again, vice president, for years, would say, we had a report of this meeting.
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it's true, there was a report. and nobody believed it. that's what they didn't add. >> we clearly know that there -- >> in a pbs interview on the "news hour with jim lehrer" national security adviser condoleezza rice reveals with certainty more evidence of saddam's supposed terrorist link. >> we know too that several of the detainees in particular some high-ranking detainees, have said that iraq provided some training to al qaeda in chemical weapons development. >> the key high-ranking detainee rice is referring to is an al qaeda commander. named ibin al sheikh al libi. >> he is at first interrogated by the fbi, using standard interrogation techniques. but the cia wants more. they seize control of him. they send him to egypt where he
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is rendered and turned over to one of the most brutal intelligence services in the world. >> this is al libi years later in a libyan prison being visited by his family. this video was recently located by michael isikoff. >> within weeks of his interrogation in egypt, al libi coughs up this story that he hadn't told the fbi before, that saddam was training al qaeda in chemical and biological weapons. it's the single most frightening story that could have been told post-9/11. >> almost from the outset the intelligence community has doubts about the claim. a 2002 cia report states that questions persist about al libi's forthrightness and truthfulness and that in some instances he seems to have fabricated information. after the invasion, al libi will recant the story that was
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extracted by the egyptians' brutal interrogation. >> what we said at the time was, look, he said two different things at two different times. and we will tell the policy consumers and other analysts in the community both stories. you choose to believe what you choose to believe. but i don't know which one is accurate. >> the administration chooses to believe the connection. >> we've learned that iraq has trained al qaeda members in bomb making. in poisons. and deadly gases. >> right up to the war and beyond, it remains a key administration argument for war. and the public largely trusts it to be true. >> if you look at all of the key pieces of evidence, that they presented publicly at the time, on every single one of them, not only was there doubt, there was debate. within the intelligence agencies of the u.s. government. >> the intelligence community assessed that saddam hussein was
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building a mobile biological weapons capability to avoid detection by the u.s. and its allies. and the assessment was based almost entirely on one source from the german government, a source named curveball. >> his real name, as far as they know, is rafid ahmed alwan. an iraqi engineer who makes his way to germany and tells german intelligence that he worked in saddam's mobile weapon labs, used to develop weapons of mass destruction. >> in the intelligence community, curveball was known to be a fabricator. he could not be relied upon. his intelligence had been sort of stamped, do not disseminate, this is useless. >> curveball is a lone and seriously suspect source. and u.s. intelligence agencies rely solely on german reports. they never actually questioned him themselves. in this 2011 interview with britain's newspaper, "the
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guardian" the man called curveball confirms the lies of his prewar claims. >> this particular issue about the supposed mobile labs, was mishandled all the way around. certainly by the intelligence community in terms of how it was assessed, and then became the very heart of the whole case about unconventional weapons. >> with dubious evidence like that, the white house will present its case for war. in the nation, it's not always pretty.
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[ train whistle blows ] my mom makes trains that are friends with trees. [ train whistle blows ] ♪ my mom works at ge. ♪ the case of saddam hussein, a sworn enemy of our country, requires a candid appraisal of the facts. simply stated, there is no doubt that saddam hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us. >> i had a seat to the stage next to the lectern where he was
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speaking and i literally bolted at that. >> with our help, a liberated iraq can be a great nation once again. >> vice president dix dick cheney's speech to the veterans of foreign wars is the opening salvo of the bush administration's effort to sell to the american people what white house insiders call "the product." >> thank you very much. >> it was a shock. it was a total shock. i couldn't believe the vice president was saying this. and doing work for the cia on iraq wmd through all of the briefings i heard at langley, i never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. that's when i began to believe, they're getting serious about this. they want to go into iraq. >> two weeks after the speech, cheney again makes his case on national television. >> what we know is bits and pieces we gather through the intelligence system, what we do know, absolutely certainty, that he is using his procurements to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.
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>> saddam and nukes. absolute certainty. a terrifying prospect based on the cia's discovery that iraq is attempting to purchase 60,000 aluminum tubes. some analysts become convinced that the tubes are intended to be used in centrifuges to make uranium for nuclear weapons. soon after the discovery, the department of energy gets hold of the actual tubes and asks engineering professor houston wood, an expert on gas centrifuges to evaluate them. >> from the information they gave me, it took about 15 minutes to come to the conclusion that the tubes could not be used for gas centrifuges. they're too thick. they're too heavy. >> the energy department concludes that the tubes are for conventional rockets, not for nuclear weapons. but cia analysts stick to their position that the tubes are for centrifuges, and the white house embraces that position.
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administration sources leak the disputed findings to "the new york times" in september 2002. the paper runs its sensational scoop on the front page. >> this is -- >> within hours, dick cheney is quoting that scoop as fact on "meet the press." >> it's now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire and we have been able to intercept him and prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel, the kind of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. >> i called my friend in oak ridge and said, are these the same tubes we were talking about last year? and they said, yes. i said, i thought we put that to rest a year ago. >> united nations inspections -- >> four days later, commemorating the first anniversary of 9/11, president george w. bush repeats the claim at the united nations. >> iraq made several attempts to buy high strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. >> i think the bush
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administration took a great deal of satisfaction in being able to cite the supposedly liberal "new york times" in making their case for it. >> absent the aluminum tubes most of the community believes that there is no sufficient evidence to assess that there is a nuclear program. >> from the african country of niger comes another nuclear alarm. italy's military intelligence agency informs the cia that it has the text of a contract between iraq and niger for saddam to purchase 500 metric tons of yellowcake, a form of uranium suitable for nuclear weapons. >> there were rather extensive written documents about the ways in which iraq was negotiating to buy very significant amounts of uranium ore. but the state department expressed how dubious they were about these documents and the likelihood that they were forged.
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>> at the time, no one from u.s. intelligence had actually laid eyes on the documents. and they will ultimately turn out to be forgeries. but when a dia report on the yellowcake claim is presented to dick cheney, he orders the cia to dig deeper. the agency sends to niger, a veteran diplomat with extensive experience in africa, former ambassador joseph wilson. >> i knew the foreign minister who was subsequently prime minister. i knew the minister of mines. it did not happen. it could not have happened. just because of the nature of uranium mining operations in francophone africa. the french maintained control. >> the most important thing to know about the yellowcake story is that the cia never believed it. >> but even as speculation, it is enough for administration officials to move ahead with plans to take out saddam. national security adviser condoleezza rice goes on cnn to alert the nation. >> the problem here is that
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there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. but we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. >> what i was hearing and what i knew, did not jive. i asked one time at langley, am i crazy or is there no credible evidence of an ongoing program? and i had a former deputy director of cia say to me, you're not crazy. >> but there are administration voices urging caution. secretary of state colin powell and his senior staff, who unlike their counterparts at defense, are all former military men, they press to give a chance for sanctions to work. for inspections to keep saddam in check. >> the concern was, we hadn't finished in afghanistan, and if we went to war in iraq, we would take the emphasis off afghanistan. which subsequently is exactly what happened. >> the administration has saddam squarely in its sights.
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so why wouldn't i choose the fastest wifi? i would. switch to comcast business internet and get the fastest wifi included. comcast business. built for business. i'm milissa rehberger. a special review of the va health system says it is plagued by a corrosive culture of mismanagement and distrust. it calls for more resources and top to bottom restructuring of management. a mississippi tea party leader and political ally of republican senate candidate chris mcdaniel is dead. mark mayfield appears to have taken his own life after getting caught up in a scandal involving alleged political dirty tricks. now back to "hubris." with congress back from its summer recess, administration
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leaders prepare to make their case to invade iraq. to eliminate saddam. inside the white house, paul wolfowitz's deputy, undersecretary of defense, douglas fife, an iraq hawk like his boss, presents a slide show to national security officials that is full of questionable assertions. >> of all the places where intelligence was being manipulated in the bush administration, the fife shop was the key place. >> there was a debate about how one characterizes the relationship between iraq and al qaeda. nobody made the argument there was no relationship between iraq and al qaeda. >> i want to thank the -- >> the administration deploys its biggest guns to push congressional leaders for quick passage of a resolution to authorize the president to take military action. >> it's an important signal for the world to see that this country is united in our resolve to deal with -- threats that we
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face. >> the president made the point that there was an urgency to taking action. that it couldn't wait. he got very animated. he used uncharacteristically profanity and used the middle finger to demonstrate saddam hussein's disdain for the united states and for him personally. >> a number of members of congress, mostly democrats, remain unconvinced. >> i'm still very skeptical about saddam hussein's intent and position. nothing has changed. the basis for that skepticism. >> the senate intelligence committee requests a national intelligence estimate, a comprehensive summary of the evidence. nies are routinely delivered on intelligence issues. yet on this gravest of matters none yet exists. in three weeks the cia pulls to together what normally takes months. and is delivered just seven days before the congressional vote. >> the aluminum tubes are interesting. i know there's controversy
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associated with it. >> in my judgment, the cia director george tenet, had become a political spokesperson for the administration. that is not the role of the cia. too often toeing a line the administration wanted him to >> we think we stumbled onto one avenue of a nuclear weapons program. >> there is no question there were erroneous judgments in that national intelligence estimate. the purpose was to sell a policy initiative, which was to go to war against iraq. >> the 90-page classified nie asserts that saddam is actively pursuing his wmd program. it cites the debatable intelligence on aluminum tubes, the yellowcake uranium purchase, and mobile weapons labs. but deep inside that thick document are strongly worded dissents that argue the evidence is weak, even wrong. >> the nie is sent over to congress. it's kept in a classified vault. as far as we can tell only about half a dozen senators actually read it. had they done so, they would
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have seen that it was filled with dissents. >> if i had read the national intelligence estimate on iraq, i probably would have been -- have done myself a favor by being better informed on the intelligence, rather than listening to the administration. >> as a congressional resolution to authorize war is put to a vote, most republicans stand solidly behind president bush. >> the forces of freedom are on the march and terrorists will find no safe harbor in this world. >> democrats are deeply divided. >> it is wrong for congress to declare war against iraq now before we have exhausted the alternatives. >> i urge senators to go down on the capitol mall and look at the vietnam memorial. >> we were two months out from an election, and no one, republican, democrat, independent, ever wants to be viewed as weak on national security. >> i will vote to give the president the authority he
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needs. >> the threat of saddam hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real. >> it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our president, and we say to him, use these powers wisely and as a last resort. >> in my heart, i knew that a no to the authority for the president was the right vote. but yet, i was not strong enough to vote my conscience. >> the joint resolution is passed. without objection -- >> the vote is overwhelming. the margin is more than three to one in the senate, it's more than two to one in the house. the president is officially given a free hand. >> the days of iraq acting as an outlaw state are coming to an end. >> powell walked into my office without so much as a fare thee well, he walked over to the window and said i wonder what will happen when we put 500,000 troops in iraq and comb the country from one end to the other and find nothing. and he turned around and walked back into his office.
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i wrote that down on my calendar, as close to verbatim as i could, because i thought that was a profound statement coming from the secretary of state, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. >> the march to war begins in earnest. and it is colin powell who gets the job of selling it to the world. >> what we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. >> anybody who says this was an intelligence driven war, i believe is mistaken. end, stop. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] if you can't stand the heat, get off the test track. get the mercedes-benz you've been burning for at the summer event, going on now at your authorized mercedes-benz dealer. hurry, before this opportunity cools off. ♪
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[ male announcer ] check out the possibilities. thank ythank you for defendiyour sacrifice. and thank you for your bravery. thank you colonel. thank you daddy. military families are uniquely thankful for many things, the legacy of usaa auto insurance can be one of them. if you're a current or former military member or their family, get an auto insurance quote and see why 92% of our members plan to stay for life. by the end of 2002, the u.s. military is headed to the gulf. congress is on board as are
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british prime minister tony blair and most of the mainstream media. the stage is set for war. a new u.n. resolution has forced iraq to submit to tough new arms inspections. but president bush is growing impatient. the defense department tells him that if he is going to war, he's got to do it before the blistering desert summer. >> we were moving along the path of getting a good inspection going, that would probably come to fruition, one way or the other. but once you start military forces flowing to the extent that we did for iraq, it's hard to pull them back. >> as the inevitable moves closer, president bush reargues the case. and ups the ante with 16 infamous words in the state of the union address. >> the british government has learned that saddam hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from africa. >> that would be yellowcake.
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again. but by referring to a six-month-old british white paper, the president does an end run around a claim discredited by his own intelligence service. >> it wasn't a matter of lying about this or lying about that, but rather, through the artistry of speechwriters and case presenters, conveying an impression to the american people that certain things were true. >> it's a real sleight of hand. and i think it's kind to call that disingenuous. >> on the heels of the president's speech, the administration plays its ultimate trump card. it tasks secretary of state colin powell, its most trusted public face, its most reluctant warrior, to make the case against saddam at the united nations. he's given a week to pull that presentation together. >> he walked in my office with a sheath of papers in his hand, and he threw them down on my desk and he said that's the script of my presentation at the united nations.
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it came from the vice president's office. it was junk. it was pure junk. i was in charge of putting it together. >> powell and wilkerson tear up the original 48-page script and start over with a team from the state department and cia. director george tenet suggests they base their presentation on the national intelligence estimate, which unbeknownst to powell is a deeply flawed document. still, he is wary. >> we went into a room, he slammed the door shut. he said, sit down. and he sat down. we were the only two people in the room. he looked at me and he said, this bull [ bleep ] of contacts with al qaeda has got to be taken out. it's bull [ muted ]. and i said, i agree with you. let's take it out. done. within a half hour, tenet comes in and explosively tells about this high-level al qaeda
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operative who's been interrogated and admitted to these contacts. whoa. and we put it back in. >> that would be the dubious confession extracted from ibin al sheikh al libi the result of torture by the egyptians. >> both of us convinced ourselves that if the intelligence community believed what we were presenting, then we had to believe it. because they were the experts. >> i wrote part of the speech, and what i saw over the course of weeks, up until the night before he gave that speech, and in fact into the early morning, 1:00, 2:00 a.m. was does this fit? is this compelling? who can pick a hole in this? i'm going to stand in front of a billion people. what i say better be the clearest and most credible information we have. >> on february 5th, 2003, the moment of truth arrives. >> the 4,701st meeting of the security council is called to order. >> the world witnesses colin
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powell deliver the ultimate argument for war against iraq. >> what we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. i will cite some examples and these are from human sources. >> i was at cia headquarters, and all of us would have gathered around the tv in the office to watch his speech live from the u.n. >> we have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails. >> those would be descriptions by the discredited witness, curveball. >> as he's talking about this, and showing vials of white powder and so forth, i turned to a woman next to me, who had followed this whole case of curveball much more closely than i, i said what the hell is going on? my colleague said, i don't know. i don't know what's going on. what is this? >> we did not know he was in germany. we did not know he had a code name, curveball.
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we did not know that no u.s. intelligence personnel had ever interrogated him. >> based on defector information in may of 1991, saddam hussein had a massive clandestine nuclear weapons program that covered several different techniques to enrich uranium. >> that would be defector information supplied by the notoriously unreliable ahmed chalabi, head of the iraqi national congress. the self-appointed expatriate iraqi shadow government. >> we talked to chalabi on multiple occasions and we saw that even they were hyping the type of information that they put out. >> he is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed. >> yet again, the aluminum tubes. >> i was incredibly disappointed when he brought out the comments about the aluminum tubes.
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i felt betrayed as an american and a scientist. >> i can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how iraq provided training in these weapons to al qaeda. fortunately, this operative is now detained and he's told his story. >> powell is referring to ibin al sheikh al libi, the same detainee the cia labeled a fabricator. powell takes 90 minutes to run through his persuasive litany of evidence. much of it will turn out to be, at best, inaccurate. >> thank you, mr. president. >> if you look at that speech in retrospect, there's a little too much of what we think and not enough of what we don't know. there's too much servitude in the speech. that's not secretary powell's problem. that's on us as intelligence professionals. >> secretary of state powell set aside his personal misgivings and staked his global reputation for integrity on this one
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my fellow citizens, at this hour, american and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger. our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure.
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>> the conquest goes quickly. and just as quickly, a country liberated from a dictator dissolves into chaos. >> freedom is untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. >> an administration eager to go to war, fails disastrously to plan for its aftermath. and after 19 months of scouring the country, the truth about saddam's weapons of mass destruction is finally revealed. >> there are no weapons of mass destruction in iraq, and there haven't been for a long time. >> a new report by the chief u.s. weapons inspector finds that iraq got rid of its weapons of mass destruction shortly after the first gulf war. >> i wasn't supposed to find wmd, i was supposed to find the truth. i did not fail to find wmd. i succeeded in finding the truth. >> you're telling us in addition
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to having no wmd stocks before the war, for the reasons you gave, saddam chose not to have those weapons. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> those are stunning statements. >> it was a terrible mistake. the cia had said we would find stockpiles that we didn't find. it was a disaster. >> you believed it was true at the time? >> yes, so did they. they shouldn't have. i mean there were a lot of people in the agency, in the community, that knew some of this information wasn't, you know, as solid as it was being presented to me. >> it's not just an intelligence failure. it's a failure to the very highest levels of decision making in america. george w. bush and richard bruce cheney would have gone to war with iraq and gotten rid of saddam hussein even if there wasn't any intelligence at all. >> it is at worst lies and deception. it is at best, incompetence and
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lack of understanding. >> a lot of people who purposefully used extreme rhetoric to gin up popular support for the war, there have been no consequences for them. >> we sit here some eight years later, 4,000 americans lost their lives. maybe 100,000 iraqis lost their lives. it cost about a trillion dollars. was it worth it? did you give the right advice? >> i think i did. if you look back at the proposition we faced after 9/11, with respect to saddam hussein, we were very concerned about the prospects of terrorists like the 9/11 crowd, acquiring weapons of mass destruction, biological agent or nuclear weapon they could use on the united states. >> there's no question the news media didn't do its job during the run-up to the iraq war. far too often, the press simply accepted these sweeping assertions by the highest officials in the government.
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without looking for the hard evidence to support it. >> more concern about the politics of my decision rather than what is right and what is wrong. >> i have prayed to god many times that he would forgive me for sending his children to die in a war that never had to happen. >> was there ever any consideration of apologizing to the american people? >> i mean, apologizing would basically say the decision was a wrong decision. and i don't believe it was a wrong decision.
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msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you've never seen, "lockup: raw." in prison as on the outside -- >> we have something in common. >> -- a single decision can change a person's life forever. >> the violence and the killing and the senseless [ bleep ]. you know what i mean? >> we have seen inmates make all kinds of fateful choices. >> i threatened them, yeah. i threatened their families. >> i didn't come here for friends. >> it's personal between him and her. >> will you ha t
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